Dispute – May 22nd h – The Men and the Proposed Closure

May 1885

The Men And The Proposed Closure

The statement published yesterday about the decision of the directors of the Denaby Main colliery to close the pit if a sufficient number of men cannot be found within the next fortnight to work it on the employers terms had little or no effect.

The first portion of the employers´ threat, the giving notice to everyone employed on or about the colliery, was carried out yesterday, but many of the men simply assert that this is simply a ruse on their employers´ part to hide the bringing in of more men to the pit.

The alarm among the trades-people of Mexborough is very great, as the closing of the colliery will be a very heavy blow to the prosperity of the town.

The miners, on the other hand, affect to disbelieve that Mr. Pope will carry out the directors´ decision, and argue that the company would be the losers by the transaction.

In the meantime the Cornishmen are strictly watched, but they refuse to be enticed from the colliery premises notwithstanding the many allurements of the Denabyites. Late on Wednesday night a crowd of Denaby Main miners waited near the colliery gates in anticipation of the Cornishmen coming from the premises, it having been asserted that the newcomers were to be paid off. This turned out to be a false statement, and the threatened thrashing was postponed indefinitely.

The miners are very indignant with the Attercliffe men employed on the premises who chaff them on every possible occasion.

The five Denaby Main men who have resumed work on the owners´ terms are receiving anything but a blessing from their fellows who are still on strike. A large number of miners assembled yesterday afternoon to watch the men who were coming from the cages. Sixty were counted, eighteen of whom were deputies. The Cornishmen were greeted with groans and invited to leave the yard, but they took no notice of the invitation. One of the Denaby Main men who have resumed work was seen and threatened, but he laughed at the crowd.

In response to the manager´s invitation to go to work the miners have circulated handbills informing those intending to apply for the situations, that the ” dispute is not yet settled.”

The distress is still very great, and were it not for the exertions put forth by the Rev. T.J. Leslie much more suffering would have resulted than has been the case. The men assert that at the present time their struggle is very hard, and that when the other pits resume working they will receive more support from the miners of the district.

No reply has yet been made known to Mr. Pickard´s proposals, and it is anticipated that they will meet with a favourable reception at the hands of the owners.